Every sailor knows the true story behind the Odyssey. It didn’t take Odysseus ten years to get home after the Trojan War because the gods were annoyed with him and he got blown off-course: he was late because his boat kept breaking and he had to fix it. Heck, if I had ten years of repair delays to explain, I’d tell my spouse the same thing. “Sorry, honey, I was fighting a cyclops.” It sounds so much cooler than, “Sorry, honey, that hole in the bilge just kept opening up.”
There is no such thing as a boat in perfect ... Read More
In which a Folksong hits a new note
By Terri Watson Posted April 28, 2014
The ad said, “One repair and she is ready to race. $5000 firm.”
The slide began when I asked, “So what is that one repair?”
My mother taught me better, the woman who counseled me to never, ever go to the SPCA just to visit the animals. The owner said, “Go take a look for yourself.”
I met Folkboat US95 tied to the dock at what was then Nelson’s boatyard in Alameda, where she had been taken for a checkup by Fred Andersen, the San ... Read More
More than six months ago our battery bank ticked past the five year mark. That’s a pretty good life for marine AGMs, so we’ve been thinking for a while about where and how it would be replaced. You can’t always count on easy access to boat bits in the islands of Southeast Asia, so the big concern is that the bank would nosedive in an inconvenient location with complicated and costly results. We wanted to wait as long as possible, but expected it to become necessary at any moment, making it the top priority in a string of power projects ... Read More
Q: My friend has a metal boat. I had him over for beers last night, and all he talked about was electrolytic corrosion. I love boat talk as much as the next sailor, but I nearly threw him overboard. What is it with you metal boat people and your corrosion issues?*
A: Electrolytic corrosion is the worst. The worst! It is a creeping horror ready to eat away our hulls and leave us sad and boatless. I’m sorry your imaginary friend bored you, but this is a real concern for us. Why? Because a penny and a little saltwater could ... Read More
IT’S HERE! Spring, I mean. Though there is still snow in the forecast up here in New England, and even in Annapolis, from which I returned last night after holding forth at the World Cruising Club Ocean Sailing Seminar over the weekend. I have an awful feeling I will actually succeed (for once!) in getting Lunacy launched in early to mid-May this year… and there will then be a HUGE BLIZZARD the day after she splashes.
We are forging ahead regardless, so I stopped by Maine Yacht Center last week to see how the old girl’s rudder-skeg repair is coming ... Read More
The roundup of our current maintenance projects isn’t complete without a look at the work we’ve recently done. Totem is just one case, but a reasonable stand-in to consider the kind of work that a well used cruising boat goes through after five plus years in the tropics. It’s a different perspective than offered by the general rule of thumb, and that’s fine by us: we take good care of our baby.
1. Prop shaft and bearings. Looking good now, but turned out that it had a few kinks.
Totem is just a sample size of one, but it’s not a bad proxy for the maintenance you might expect on a well-found boat after a handful of years of tropical cruising. It’s one thing to talk in theory about how to account for the cost of maintenance while cruising; hopefully this look at what we’re addressing on Totem makes it a little more real.
These are the non-negotiables: the things that have to be addressed near term. They are safety essentials or gear we need to replace, and work that’s all planned for the next few months.
1. ... Read More
What does it cost to go cruising? Most of these discussions focus on month to month living expenses. Do you eat out in restaurants or stick to the boat? Do you stay in marinas or anchor out? Do you send out your laundry or wash it in a bucket? What’s easy to miss in the discussion, or not apparent in a month-to-month level examination, are maintenance costs. They get lost in the shuffle, but maintenance costs can bite you in the bum.
How can you ballpark annual maintenance costs? There are various “rules of thumb” and most of them put ... Read More
I can’t explain it, but my sail covers have become too small over the years. Either they shrunk, or sails have become bulkier. (Do I sound like an aging man talking about his waistline?) It’s been a real stretch lately, and a ten minute job, to get the sail covers on, especially over my new-ish main, which is still stiff. They were also generally battered and had lots of rips to repair. I’ll say this much though: That Sunbrella is some tough stuff. Those sail covers date from long before I owned the boat, meaning they’ve stood up to at ... Read More
When Erik went back to work, Papillon became My Boat. By which I mean, Papillon became My Problem. With my resident handyman thousands of miles away, anything that broke was going to be my responsibility. And it was just a matter of time before something bad happened. This is a boat, after all. So when the generator died this week, I wasn’t surprised.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not very handy. As Erik kindly puts it, I’m not a natural tool user. No arguments here. But, being the big boss that I am now, I thought ... Read More